Recently, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that provides greater unemployment benefits and additional stimulus payments to individuals and families, as well as more than $300 billion in aid for small businesses.
Here are some highlights of the second stimulus package:
Small Business Loans - Small businesses that continue to struggle after nine months of pandemic-related economic hardship can now apply for a second loan. The bill provides more than $284 billion to the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) for forgivable small business loans and allocates an additional $20 billion to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grants to businesses in low-income communities. The assistance will also cover businesses that effectively have been shut down during the pandemic, like live music venues, movie theaters, etc. The new legislation also specifies that forgiven PPP loans will not be taxable to the small-business borrower. This applies to all existing PPP loans under the original CARES Act as well as new and second draw PPP loans. In addition, borrowers of a PPP loan will still be able to deduct their payroll and other qualifying expenses that PPP funds covered.
Stimulus Checks – Those making $75,000 per year or less will receive $600, or $1,200 for married couples making up to $150,000 per year, plus an extra $600 payment for each dependent child. Payments start to phase out at incomes above $75,000 annually, and those making more than $99,000 are not eligible.
Unemployment Benefits - $120 billion to increase unemployment benefits by $300/week, lasting from Dec. 26 until March 14, 2021. This bill also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, with expanded coverage to the self-employed, gig workers, and others in nontraditional employment, as well as the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides additional weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular state benefits.
Rental Assistance - $25 billion in emergency rental aid and an extension of the national eviction moratorium through Jan. 31, 2021.
Nutrition Assistance - The bill also expands the Pandemic-EBT program to families with children under age 6 who receive food stamps, deeming them "enrolled" in child care and eligible for benefits. It previously provided funds to low-income families with school-age children in lieu of the free and reduced-price meals they would have received in school. The deal also earmarks $400 million for food banks and food pantries participating in The Emergency Food Assistance Program.
Education Relief - $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools, including support for HVAC repair and replacement to reduce virus spread, and $10 billion in childcare assistance.
Healthcare/Medical Expenses – Nearly $50 billion in funds to help healthcare providers manage the virus, including coverage of vaccine administration for those who can’t afford it, as well as more funding for testing.
We'll continue to monitor the impacts of this newest COVID-19 relief legislation and share information. If we can answer any questions for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.